Betel Leaf Pulav ~ Maharashtrian Flavours with Nalini Deshpande

by on February 15, 2016

“Betel leaf is so tasty, so I thought why not add it to pulav! Cooking is a creative process. I love thinking and innovating on my feet. You will love the flavours,” Nalini Deshpande describes her love for cooking and passion for innovation.

Flavoured with the goodness of betel leaves which are a rich source of vitamins and anti-oxidants, this rice dish from Nalini’s kitchen is simple with an interesting twist. The betel leaf is roasted and crushed to add an aroma to the pulav that is subtle yet distinct.

Vidyachya Paanache Masale Bhaat


  • 1 cup rice (not basmati)
  • 1 cup chopped vegetables (of your choice. Naliniji likes brinjals, peas & cauliflower. You can tweak this into a Jain recipe by avoiding root vegetables.)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida powder
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 tsp jaggery
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh coconut
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste

For the powder:

  • 4-5 betel leaves
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • ½ cup grated dry coconut (khopra)
  • 3-4 dry red chillies


  1. Wash and soak the rice for 10 minutes. Strain and set aside.
  2. Roast the ingredients for the powder in ½ tsp oil until the aroma rises. Grind into a coarse powder and set aside.
  3. Alongside, heat 2½ cups of water.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds.
  5. As they splutter, add the asafoetida powder and the chopped vegetables. Sauté for a couple of minutes.
  6. Add the rice and the prepared powder. Mix well and add the boiling water.
  7. Add the lemon juice, jaggery and salt. Cover and cook on a low flame, mixing now and then. Alternately, you can pressure-cook for up to 1 whistle.
  8. Switch off the flame and garnish with grated fresh coconut and the chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot. A perfect recipe for parties and get-togethers!
Photo Courtesy: Harmony Magazine


Part-1 of this post is a very interesting interview with Nalini Deshpande, a Maharashtrian from Pune – an educationist as well as a born singer.
First published in ‘Heart to Hearth’ – a column in Harmony Celebrate Age, a magazine about silvers.


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